What I find interesting is that somehow recently "Not Everyone Getting An Award" seems to be the rallying cry of those which believe is the core reason to young athletes growing up to be an entitled millennial.
How did this happened?
Those that believe in this theory think that if we give everyone an award for just showing up and competing, regardless if they won or lost, why does that deserve a trophy?
"They need to accept failure as a child to be a more productive adult" screams the grouchy dad.
Let's take a look deeper into the why...
Sure there is also those that believe todays young professionals feel entitled to big salary's and titles without earning it.
Perhaps the fact that only 12 years ago when social media didn't really exist these same kids who were born at the right time in the history of the world with the digital revolution, they have seen that it is very possible that they too can become a millionaire at the age of 19.
And the fact that they know that, pisses a lot of experts off.
So is it the youth soccer coaches fault? Is it the parents fault?
Or just maybe it's the leagues and the tournament organizers that build in a trophy and free T-Shirt as an added value to sign up and register and gain attention to their sport or event!?
Does everyone deserve unlimited appetizers at TGIFriday's for just showing up and not earning those 75 free loaded potato skins?
Or just maybe its marketing and gaining attention to their restaurant chain and a youth soccer tournament?
It's really just business and not the evil empire in an attempt to soften up our kids.
Now let's talk about young professionals vs youth sports and what we as adults do to enable or staff and what youth coaches do to develop young athletes.
There is a correlation between the two.
If you have every operated a business, or have been in management and hired young professionals, it's easy to get caught up in the pedigree and look test.
Similar to youth and high school players are judged by what state they are from, what they look like in street clothes or uniforms.
I don't care who you are, we all judge people the same way on first impressions and make our assumptions.
What we don't know is what drives them internally. Do they have the "Want To Factor"?
Coaches talk about you can't see the size of their heart. Employers talk about high effort, hard working, non drama employees.
Don't we know talk about "Culture" and "Lifestyle" and offer extra's to keep employees happy. Staff bowling parties, extra days off, Monday lunches, bring your pets to work, etc, etc....
Aren't those awards for just showing up?
Now think about that kid that sat on the bench.
Who is not that athletic and seems like they just don't fit in. That could have been many of you or your kids.
Everyone needs some confidence be it the star, bench warmers or intern.
Whatever the reason, something compelled that kid to get up and show up for the game and play the season.
Be it they won the championship or lost every game, as little the award maybe if only for a brief moment, it may just be the confidence that child needed to play another sport, or register for another season.
As painful as Mondays are to work, perhaps that free lunch and that brief moment to bond with the boss and coworkers gives them the confidence to work a bit harder or feel more valued.
So let's go back to grouchy dad who thinks that every kid is entitled and doesn't deserve that trophy for just showing up.
He still like to compete and show his kids how its done .
Somehow on his last Turkey Trot 5K he finished 9899 out of the 10,000 but remarkably was so proud to show off his medal to his kids. Now lets go get some potato skins!
Good thing "Everyone Gets An Award".
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Rob Thompson-Owner Operator of 100+ grassroots events for youth, recreational and elite athletes. 20+ Years In Youth Development Programs, Family Entertainment and Media for the NFL, The Walt Disney Company and Arena Football League.
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